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Reflection: Is It Necessary For Self-Growth?
Yes. If You Do Not See Where You Have Been, How Will You Know Where You Are Going?
Reflection. I have heard it several times lately that reflection is the lost part of planning. It is also a lost part in journaling at times as well.
I can come to my journal and write for a long time. I can write about my day, what I did, what we as a family did, where I went, where we went as a family. I can write about television shows. I can write about books I read.
This is a way of documenting my day. I did this. I went here. I saw this. I read this. Where are the feelings?
Reflection is how did this make me feel? What made me feel this way? Why did I feel this way? What brought this up? What does it mean to me? Do I feel I should do something about this, about the way I feel? If so, what should I do about this?
Sometimes there are things that come up that trigger me, bring up the past in a negative way, things that I do not want to think about, things I do not want to write about.
What can a person do about that?
There are meditations that can be used that release the things one holds onto without having to focus on that thing to break it up and release it.
My preferred way of doing this is with my art journal. I can summon up the feeling, hold that feeling without having to investigate it, and release that feeling onto the page of my art journal, onto my canvas, wherever, whatever I am painting.
I can rip things up and glue them down. I can tear things to pieces and stick them down with washi tape or any kind of tape. I can scribble all over that. I can paint all over that.
The best part is—I don’t have to do anything to ‘turn it into’ anything.
This means I do not have to ‘finish’ a piece by creating a focal point, worry about color theory, or how the eye moves across a piece. None of that.
If all I want to do is take one single color of paint and swipe it over and over and over my substrate for twenty minutes, for an hour, for however long, then that is what I do.
It does not have to be pretty. Making this sort of art is art therapy. It is not about making something that will be placed in a museum or an art gallery. No one will want to buy it—they do not need to want to buy it. This is an outpouring of my heart, of my spirit, spilling out of the container I have held it in so tightly. I simply need to let it out and let it go.
There is no rhyme. No reason. No this is supposed to be this or that or the other.
Whatever it is, that is what it needs to be for me to release things and heal from things.
Maybe it was about abuse I suffered decades ago. Maybe it was about some perceived slight I felt at the grocery store. Maybe it is because I woke up feeling sad or whatever and I don’t actually have a reason.
This can and is a part of my personal reflection practice.
Yes, I do write things out.
Sometimes I write before I paint over things.
Sometimes I paint, then I write a word, a phrase, a sentence, or an appropriate quote on top of the paint (once it is dry, of course).
Self-reflection is indeed a necessary part of moving forward.
It does not mean you have to dredge up every horrible thing that may have happened in your past.
Self-reflection involves examining your why.
Why do you want this?
Why did you feel this way?
Why did you do this?
Why are you procrastinating?
Why are you waiting?
What does this mean to you? That is another piece of your puzzle, of your reflection.
What does this mean to you? Why does it mean this?
Why do you want to move from where you are? What do you attain and/or achieve with this move?
Why do you need a new job? Why do you need more money? What is causing this desire, this need in you?
Why do you want to buy that shirt, or that dress, or those pants? What does it/do they mean to you or for you? What will happen if/when you have them?
And the questions can be used over and over for any situation.
Ask yourself why. And ask why again. And continue to ask why until you have run out of reasons until you have run deeply enough to find out the information you need to understand whatever it is you have questioned.
That is self-reflection.
Do you need to do it every day? That is up to you. You decide that for yourself.
If you want to reflect daily, then do so. If you want to do it weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. That is up to you.
Reflection is a tool. Use it as you need to use it.
Until next time…
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